When All You Have is an Arm Lock . . . 

From the (backers only) Kickstarter comments came a note that bears, um, noting:

Hey Douglas — what would you recommend when grappling a creature that has a paralyzing attack? Classic example is probably a Ghoul. I would think only a suicidal player would attempt to grapple something like that as it seems like an automatic hit and save required every round. Any thoughts on that?

I think he’s hit the nail on the head there in his own question.

There’s a song by Jim Croce “You don’t mess around with Jim,” where the advice is

“You don’t tug on superman’s cape;

You don’t spit into the wind

You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger;

And you don’t mess around with Jim.”

I think wrestling a ghoul falls into that category!

More seriously, just as hitting something with an axe isn’t always the best answer to every provocation, just because there are (hopefully!) good rules for grappling doesn’t mean you should play to a monster’s strengths.

If you MUST grapple a ghoul, use a ROPE (a lariat, for example, or a whip if your GM lets you make a grappling attack with one). Or a web spell.

Or bash it to death with a pollaxe, because sometimes that is the right answer.

In closing: grappling is another, and obviously I would add crucial, axis of conflict that GMs and players can bring to the fight. You can go for immobilization or you can go for pain or you can go for strangulation or crippling injury. But it’s not always the best answer, and figuring that out can be part of the challenge. There are Norse monsters like draugr that can only be overcome by first grappling it back into its grave.

And then there are paralyzing ghouls one would be unwise to touch. Continue reading “Grappling is the only answer!”

It’s like a moth to flame with me. First there was GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling. That one  was my first full-length book for anyone: 35,000 words of fairly detailed subsystem that was my first attempt at taking grappling rules and put them on the same scale and mechanical basis as striking with fists or weapons. It’s where I created and put to paper the concept that one should treat wrestling with the same level of abstraction and the same mechanics as other methods of fighting.

Then I got involved a bit in a Swords and Wizardry game. This deliberate throwback to the original Dungeons and Dragons rules took me back to the red box and AD&D days, and had the same brutal and elegant simplicity that I recalled, but also was found more rarely in later games. An entire party of folks could sit down, roll up characters, and begin play in less than an hour. Maybe less than 15 minutes. West End Games’ Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game has that same feel. Few others since have managed it (Fate Core and Accelerated do a very nice job as well. They should: Leonard Balsera quoted WEG’s Star Wars as one of his primary influences when designing the game).

So when my S&W group and I got a few games under our belts, Peter Dell’Orto encouraged me to take Technical Grappling and strip it way, way down and apply it to S&W, and by extension to all of the games based on the old-school D&D rules. We took that on together, and the results appeared in Tim Shorts’ zine, part of Manor #8. Peter and I took everything that wasn’t strictly required and threw it in the dustbin. Doubly so because the old games’ monster writeups mostly did not include much in the way of statistics. You would get Hit Dice, Armor Class, and Hit Points. That was about it. Size? Strength? Yeah. Make it up. Continue reading “Dungeon Grappling – Designer’s Notes”

This weekend was, in a word, good.

Dungeon Grappling

 
I did a triple-whammy. I finished a draft late Friday night that I thought – despite being bleary-eyed – was quite good. My readers confirmed it was the best version yet.
But the next day, one of my readers ran through a PFRPG fight with some purpose built grapple-monsters, both PCs and critters.
Whoa. Not good. The problem is that the source material – OSR D&D in various flavors – is fairly low in the HP department, and Dragon Heresy uses other stats to differentiate wounds from vigor, and control from vigor.
So converting over using HP to get to PFRPG or Fifth Edition? No. Does not work.
I real-timed it with Cole, and realized that at least for the moment, a new value for the grappling version of HP was needed. Came up with one, and that tested well. I knew it wasn’t quite right, and kept working while the playtest was going on. Found a good solution for all of the games treated, and realized (via math, backed up by 8 months of playtests) why Dragon Heresy not once had this problem.
Anyway, rewrote the drafts and got that into the hands of my layout and indexing guys. Wound up at 17,100 words, which (if we use the same layout template as Dragon Heresy) will turn into about 32 pages, which is right where I want to end up. That probably means about 16 – 20 pieces of art. We’ll see – it’s why I like to do a preliminary layout pass – to see where things need to go.
But once the fix was done, the feedback was:

Continue reading “Writing and Art for GB products”

A quick Dragon Heresy update.

Things are moving along, and monsters are being written. I’m super-excited about my lizardfolk writeup, and the elementals and giants are pretty fun too. Actually, the undead are kinda awesome. Anyway, having a specific setting to tie monsters into is a great creative aid.

In other news, I got some feedback on the magnitude of the project which has . . . given me pause isn’t exactly right, but it’s not wrong either. “Hey, here’s a new company, doing a SRD5.1 project that is probably 700-750 pages in two volumes” is a big ask.

So I’m going to try something different. I’m going to rip out the grappling rules from the Dragon Heresy manuscript, plus +Peter V. Dell’Orto and my “Grappling Old School” rules from Manor #8 (which also appeared in Guardians, an OSR Superhero game), and polish them up for a very small Kickstarter. 

I have many, many more words written about grappling than I can use. I have months of playtest of the system, plus all the GURPS stuff where folks have played Technical Grappling. 

I’ll get to trial my layout, give my artists (one under contract, three pending) some early paying work, my indexer and I will figure out a process there, and I’ll get to run myself through the Kickstarter process from start to finish.

Total ask? Likely less than $1,000 . . . maybe much less. 

I’m reaching out to some other authors about some add-ons for extras (all will be PDFs – this is designed to be an “instant gratification” Kickstarter unless it smashes stretch goals for “MOAR ART! COLOR ART! COOL COVER!” or whatnot, in which case you get the B/W version RTFN, and a color version when it’s done.

I will also have a “so . . . you want to help fund Dragon Heresy” set of . . . call them “elite tiers.” I’ve got ideas for this that have to do with having your face and image appear as major historical characters in the art in the DH books. Still cooking on that idea, but I’d commission art to mutually satisfactory specs (real or idealized version of you? What class? pose? that sort of thing) that fit within the scope of art direction for the book. You’d get (minimum) a signed copy of the piece. At best, it reduces what I need to fund for the DH book, as all the art can be re-used.

Anyway, I anticipate having the manuscript done by this weekend or middle of next week. Prelim layout using the DH format (simplified, I think) and density the following weekend. Then I’ll reach out to my artists and we get to see how well we all work together. 

I’m excited about this. It’s a much lower risk project than The Big One, and if successful, the OSR and SRD5.1 crowd will finally have grappling rules that don’t suck. :-)

The Melee Academy series from Thursday got me thinking of alternate mechanics for disarms in D&D. The existing one is straightforward and usable. Roll a melee attack, opposed by your foe’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics).

But neither of those two really speak well to a disarm. If anything, a Saving Throw is almost more appropriate, but this seems like the sort of thing that should have its basis in combat skills.

In any case: the existing rule is not horribly broken, but I thought of another way to attack it.

To Disarm using a weapon:

Make a melee attack on your foe’s weapon. The hit number is 10 + DEX bonus (you get full DEX bonus even if wearing heavy armor here) + Weapon Proficiency. If you succeed, you have either struck your foe’s weapon sharply, or used your technique to bind and strip your opponent’s weapon from his grasp.

If you hit, you and your opponent both roll damage for your respective weapons (including STR or DEX, if appropriate – DEX requires a Finesse weapon). If the attacker’s damage exceeds the defender’s damage, a disarm occurs. Ties go to the defender.

If you have multiple attacks, you may certainly attempt multiple disarms against one or more weapons.

Special considerations

  • Treat a shortbow as 1d4, and a longbow as 1d6 for the purposes of resisting armed disarming attempts. You may not use a bow to attempt a disarm without an appropriate Feat.
  • Versatile weapons can use two hands to make or resist a disarm (so a longsword can roll 1d10) if a free hand is available.
  • Extra hands beyond two add +1 to the disarming “damage” roll to either resist or disarm if they can be placed on the weapon
Unarmed Disarms

Again, make a unarmed strike to punch or a Strength (Athletics) check to grapple the foe’s weapon or weapon arm. To-hit number is still 10 + DEX bonus + Weapon Proficiency. If you succeed, you have bypassed the weapon to strike or grapple the limb holding the weapon, rather than the weapon itself. 
If you hit, you and your opponent both roll damage using one die type lower than your usual hit dice (fighters do 1d8, clerics 1d6, magic users 1d4, etc). Unarmed strikes use 1 point plus the STR bonus for damage. Grapples do 1d4+STR bonus. Monks or other characters that have learned improved unarmed strikes may roll that damage instead whether striking or grappling, if it’s better.. 
If you have multiple attacks, you may certainly attempt multiple disarms against one or more weapons.
Special Considerations
  • If you miss on the attack roll when making an unarmed disarm against a weapon, your foe may make an Attack of Opporunity against your full AC including the effects of armor. In essence, he’s defending against your attack by striking your limb.
  • Treat a shortbow as 1d4, and a longbow as 1d6 for the purposes of resisting armed disarming attempts. You may not use a bow to attempt a disarm without an appropriate Feat.
  • Versatile weapons can use two hands to make or resist a disarm (so a longsword can roll 1d10) if a free hand is available.
  • Extra hands beyond two add +1 to the disarming “damage” roll to either resist or disarm if they can be placed on the weapon
Parting Shot
I like effect rolls, and I like how the better fighter in terms of both melee skill and ability to dish out damage will tend to win here. The damage roll means that if you try and disarm a great axe with a knife, the great axe will tend to win. 
On unarmed, the reliance on hit dice tends to mean that combative classes will disarm better than non-combative ones, which I like. I backed it down one die type because having Fighters with STR 18 do 5 points while striking but 1d10+4 for grappling seemed excessive, but 1d8 isn’t so bad.
If that bothers, then drop two die types, so if your hit dice are 1d6, you drop to 1 point, just like striking, but 1d10 will be 1d6, and Barbarian at 1d12 will do a mighty 1d8 when disarming. 
I was tempted to have the Grappler Feat be dealt with explicitly here. Options might include
  • Double damage on a successful hit
  • Expanded critical hit range (that might be weak sauce unless it’s very expanded)
  • Allows -5 to hit, but +10 damage for the purposes of a disarm if you attack with Strength Athletics)
As mentioned earlier, the existing rule isn’t obviously broken. But I like the nuance that this one provides. Swinging or grabbing the weapon is an exercise is striking a smallish object with a combat blow. DEX takes it out of the way, and proficiency with the weapon is a proxy for fighting skill. Damage is the power of the hit, and grappling and like techniques are strength multipliers. 
One can also see purpose-built trapping and disarming weapons coming into play here. As an example, just playing around
Sword-breaker: This weapon may be used in the off-hand using dual-wielding rules. If a bladed weapon attack misses by less than the defender’s proficiency, the defender may use his reaction to make a disarm attempt. If the sword-breaker’s damage is double or more that of the attacking weapon’s damage on the disarm roll, the attacker is disarmed and the weapon is also broken!
Over at The Dragon’s Flagon, the wayfarer penned something about grappling. Naturally, since I’ve had a few things to say about it myself, I was drawn in as the proverbial moth to the flame.

He’s writing a “fantasy-heartbreaker” RPG. What is that? I had to look it up, and found this definition over on The RPG Museum:

“A fantasy heartbreaker is, essentially, a Dungeons & Dragons knock-off. Ron Edwards coined the term to describe a species of games published in the RPG boom of the 1990s, long after their purported innovations could be considered original. The term usefully describes games which are mired in preconceptions arising from the D&D paradigm. A criticism of the term is that it implies dismissal of the idea you can make “D&D, but better,” which might be a desirable goal for some designers.” 

Here speaks Ron Edwards: “The basic notion is that nearly all of the listed games have one great idea buried in them somewhere…. That’s why they break my heart, because the nuggets are so buried and bemired within all the painful material I listed above. – Ron Edwards, 2002”

So  he’s making a D&D-like system that is a variant on the standard. Some examples from reading his combat overview:

  • The Combat Roll inflicts damage, capped at a maximum, based on margin of success (the degree to which the combat roll exceeds the Armor Class of the foe).
  • You can optionally apply your combat rating to defend instead of attack. This can be thought of as either soaking potential damage, or getting out of the way/parrying more effectively. The result is the same – either less or no damage on a one-for-one basis.
  • He’s got some very interesting combat options built in – forcing movement on the battlefield, or using a long weapon to keep a foe at bay (this is a very useful addition, in my opinion).
  • All of the combat options are usable by anyone. I like this – fighters can do fighty-stuff better, but anyone can try. That might be my GURPS showing – or my WEG d6 Star Wars – but it’s my favorite option setup in RPGs.

OK, so grappling. Here we go. I will likely refer frequently to my post on Rules for Grappling Rules, which still stands up well as a good way to think about designing a grappling system, or an RPG subsystem in general.

Goblins and Greatswords: Grappling made simple(ish)


Right away, we have this:

The first phase of a grappling attack is resolved with standard combat rolls.

In short: Yes. Grappling is combat, likely older than using striking or weapons in most worlds, and the more natural form of fighting and playing. Not having to break out a new system to do something this basic is a key part of making grappling not relegated to something that is a disruption in game flow.

A defender may be either unarmed or armed.  (Included in standard G&G combat, if I haven’t mentioned it already, is a rule that attacking unarmed against an armed opponent incurs a -2 penalty to AC; thus grappling an opponent with deadly weaponry is more hazardous than grappling an unarmed one.)

You’re signing up for increased damage against you (lower AC on the attacker’s part) if you grapple someone armed. Hrm. Interesting.

Both combat rolls have their normal effects, inflicting damage if they exceed the opponent’s AC.

This is interesting, and avoids one of the classic grappling traps: that attempting a grapple is always a really poor tactical choice relative to bashing someone with an axe (this is the Make it Interesting sub-point of my article). A grappling attack does the usual damage (if desired) if you exceed the foe’s AC; if you don’t but still beat his combat roll, you can get a grip with no damage. Presumably, if the player wants to, he can exceed the AC and elect to do no damage to the foe.

So you never have to choose between bashing your foe with an axe or grappling – you can always do both. That sidesteps the “pointless” question.

The question I’d ask is: why not, in this case, grapple every turn? Other than a slightly lower AC, what are the down-sides? 

The answer may well be “there are none,” which will see combatants locked in close combat more often than less – this strikes me as an entirely plausible outcome. 

Holding on to an opponent means that the combatant is maintaining its grip on the opponent and avoiding the opponent’s attacks.  One common tactic is to hold the opponent from behind, or in the case of a larger opponent, to climb on and cling to its back.  While holding, the grappling character’s combat rolls against the opponent are made at +2, while the opponent’s combat rolls against the grappler suffer -2.  Additionally, attacks by other creatures or characters against either grappler or grappled are made at +2 to the combat roll, as their ability to dodge and parry is limited.

So AC doesn’t change (unless the grappler is unarmed fighting an armed foe, at which point he’s at -2 to AC). He gets his die rolls altered, giving +2 to his combat roll (which is the same as +2 to damage so long as AC is exceeded). The defender has his die rolls lowered. So he’s less likely to fight back by about 10% for hit, and will do two points less damage than otherwise.

There are some “Rule Zero” interpretations allowed, too:

At the GM’s option, holding onto certain opponents may render some attack forms impossible and others more likely to succeed.  For instance, a grappled medusa may be unable to turn and use her gaze attack on the grappler, but the grappler would be extremely vulnerable to the bites of the writhing snakes on her head.

Every round, a new combat roll is made (is this done on each combatant’s turn, one roll per turn, or is the rolling per round, simultaneously? Ah, from the examples, it looks like the contested combat rolls are made simultaneously, as in “how effectively did the combatants face each other this round?” Interesting.

If a grappled character wins a combat roll, he can grapple back or break free.

What can you do?



So you’ve grappled your foe. What can you do?

The basic one is the overpower, which is a 1d6 contest modified by Might (good, Strength gets an influence) and the combat rating (that represents skill). If you win, you can do extra damage, reduce your foe’s damage, move the foe, or break free. 

Solid options there; you can only pick one per round, and a new Overpowering roll is made each round.

Personally, I’d consider this one a point of departure from the “use what’s there” rule. I’d have to see how it plays (1d20 rolls may well be too swingy and allow too much damage potential than 1d6). The basic combat contest is both players roll 1d20 plus bonuses, and margin matters. An Overpower contest is both combatants roll 1d6 plus bonuses, and margin matters. 

The Overpower contest clearly favors skill and might, and will be less swingy than the normal contest. 

Again based on the examples, though, you do both. You get a combat roll as usual, and an Overpower contest every round. I’m really not seeing a good reason not to close and grapple here!

Other possibilities once you’ve got a grapple include disarms and tackles. You disarm by winning two “reduce damage” Overpower actions in a row. Tackling (or pouncing) adds +2 to an initial grappling attempt. 

There are rules for dogpiling and grappling multiple foes at once, as well.

Parting Shot

Overall, the Goblins and Greatswords grappling rules virtually beg you to close in and come to grips with your opponent. Of course, if you’re weaker and less skilled, this will not go well for you. If you are stronger and more skilled, it will. This will be a go-to strategy for the bigger, nastier foe. 

The nice thing here is that you don’t give anything up, ever, by attempting the grapple. You still make your combat roll every turn against your foe, with the usual results. The grapple contest is a bet that closing with your foe and engaging in the 1d6+Modifiers roll will, on the average, work out better for you than it will for him. It’s a layer of flavor that stacks with, rather than replacing, the basic combat set.

Two options that might be added here are the “throw the foe to the ground” option – some sort of positional advantage – as well as the option to deny actions to the foe. 

That second one might be implicit in “reduce damage,” though. If I basically use a victorious Overpower roll to limit the damage done to me by a grappling foe, he’s basically wasting his turn each time. The 1d6+Bonuses type roll seems to be on the order of 1d6+1 to 1d6+6 in the examples, so a good fighter might basically inflict the equivalent of -10 to damage (which is also -10 to a combat roll, sorta, due to margin of success) each round – that’s a lot of useless flailing on the part of the foe.

Are there reasons to avoid grappling? Sure, especially if you are lower in Might (the STR equivalent), and your only weapon is a largish one (only small or natural weapons can be brought to bear in an Overpower contest). 

This, right there, gives mechanical support to using two weapons of dissimilar size in a fight as emergent behavior. Neat.

I think the real innovation here is making grappling additive, rather than a replacement, for the regular combat sequence. That’s clever.

Kromm
laid down the format, so I tried to do the same thing for Judo. This is
bascially a find/replace of Judo for Karate, since they mostly have the same
rules. Still – check my work?
Remember
to use the higher of DX or skill. Going by the Basic Set alone, doing all the
math to express things relative to DX (drop fractions at the very end!), and
putting the benefits of Judo in boldface, the real progression is this:
  • 0
    points (DX only):
    Grapple (including takedowns and other DX defaults)  at DX; grapple with the legs at DX-2; break
    free at DX, armed enemies who parry your unarmed grapples attack your limb at
    full skill; parry unarmed attacks at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 4 if retreating; you
    maynot use hands-free parries to parry grapples; parry weapons at DX/2, or DX/2
    + 1 if retreating; cannot attempt Judo Throw, Arm Lock, Choke Hold, or Finger
    Lock.
  • 1
    point (Judo at DX-2):
    Grapple (including takedowns and other DX defaults) at
    DX; grapple with the legs at DX-2; break free at DX, armed enemies who parry
    your unarmed grapples attack your limb at skill-4
    ; parry unarmed attacks at
    DX/2 + 3 (DX/2 + 2 if using Judo to set up a throw), or DX/2 + 5 if retreating;
    you may use hands-free parries to parry grapples at DX/2 + 2; parry weapons at
    DX/2 + 2, or DX/2 + 5 if retreating
    ; following a Judo parry, can attempt Judo
    Throw (DX-2) , Arm Lock (DX-2), Choke Hold (DX-4), or Finger Lock (DX-5)
    .
  • 2
    points (Judo at DX-1):
    Grapple (including takedowns and other DX defaults) at
    DX; grapple with the legs at DX-2; break free at DX; armed enemies who parry
    your unarmed grapples attack your limb at skill-4
    ; parry unarmed attacks at
    DX/2 + 3 (DX/2 + 2.5 if using Judo to set up a throw), or DX/2 + 5.5 if
    retreating; you may use hands-free parries to parry grapples at DX/2 +2.5;
    parry weapons at DX/2+2.5, or DX/2 + 5.5 if retreating; following a Judo parry,
    can attempt Judo Throw (DX-1) , Arm Lock (DX-1), Choke Hold (DX-3), or Finger
    Lock (DX-4)
    .
  • 4
    points (Judo at DX):
    Grapple (including takedowns and other DX defaults) at DX;
    grapple with the legs at DX-2; break free at DX; armed enemies who parry your
    unarmed grapples attack your limb at skill-4
    ; parried unarmed attacks
    automatically set up throws at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 6 if retreating
    ; you may use
    hands-free parries to parry grapples at DX/2 + 3; parry weapons at DX/2+3, or
    DX/2 + 6 if retreating; following a Judo parry, can attempt Judo Throw (DX) ,
    Arm Lock (DX), Choke Hold (DX-2), or Finger Lock (DX-3)
    .
  • 8
    points (Judo at DX+1):
    Grapple (including takedowns and other DX defaults) at
    DX+1; grapple with the legs at DX-1; break free at DX+1, armed enemies who
    parry your unarmed grapples attack your limb at skill-4
    ; parry unarmed attacks
    automatically set up throws at DX/2 + 3.5, or DX/2 + 6.5 if retreating; you may
    use hands-free parries to parry grapples at DX/2 + 3.5; parry weapons
    atDX/2+3.5, or DX/2 + 6.5 if retreating; following a Judo parry, can attempt
    Judo Throw (DX+1) , Arm Lock (DX+1), Choke Hold (DX-1), or Finger Lock (DX-2).

Adding
in the Martial Arts rules gives you a bunch more techniques (some of which
default to untrained DX). If using Technical Grappling, Judo doesn’t start to
“pay off” in the form of extra Trained ST until you reach DX+4 (+0.5 extra
Control Points per roll).

Parting
Shot
A
point in Judo goes one important thing right off the bat – it enables Judo
Throw following a parry using Judo. Now, in order to make it work, you’ll need
to invest. I had a character with Axe/Mace-18 and the Perk Judo Throw defaults
to Axe/Mace and could not get Judo Throws to work reliably in combat, so it’s
not a slam dunk. But Judo Parry sets up both throws and locks that you must
invest in a grappling skill in order to take advantage of.
Once
you get 4 points in, anything you can do with DX you can do with Judo instead.
That’s the key breakpoint. At 8 points, anything you do with DX you do better with Judo if there’s an option.
Grappling is probably one of the oldest forms of combat on the planet. It’s also the form of combat most often used when animals are hunting (some of them, like constrictor snakes, exclusively so). It’s also one that both children, animals, and child animals do instinctively for play.
And yet the rules are so often so poorly regarded they have their own entry in TVTropes.

Grappling with Grappling – What is it?

In the broadest sense, grappling and wrestling are about restraint. You are attempting, in a grappling-based fight, to restrict your opponent’s movements to the point where the only allowable actions your foe can take are those which you allow him.
Such restrictions can be:

  • He cannot use his hands (handcuffing, for example, is grappling with a mechanical aid)
  • He cannot run (bearing your opponent to the ground and sitting on him, or leg-cuffs, or gluing feet to the floor all qualify)
  • He is restricted to a position that you want him to be in, and cannot easily change that position (a wrestling pin, a police officer putting a suspect on the ground and kneeling on him)
  • He cannot speak (putting a hand or object over the mouth and jaw)
  • He can do what he likes, but you’re dragging him with you (alligator!)
  • He cannot breathe, or blood flow to his brain is restricted (choke and strangle holds)
The science and art of grappling is one of applied and denied leverage. You are going to use your own body weight, strength, and position, plus environmental and positional factors such as the walls and the floors, your relative positions to minimize the required effort to achieve the above restrictions, and also minimize the effectiveness of his own attempts to resist your restrictions.
Most of grappling consists of ways to achieve this sort of restraint on your foe while avoiding restraint on yourself. This is not always possible, especially with two skilled combatants. In fact, in many cases, grappling is fierce, mutual, and may have an outward appearance of near-stasis that either participant would characterize as anything but static!
In addition, the above restrictions are often applied while fully armed and armored, and not restricted or usually employed only by some specific ethnic esoteric martial art, either. It was a key part of the melee battlefield, and a short perusal of period manuals such as Talhoffer’s Fechtbuch shows a wide variety of grappling applications for any situation.
Grounding your opponent and then moving in for a killing or incapacitating blow is part and parcel of fighting.
So how is this dynamic, ancient, apparently difficult to model style of combat modeled in the five systems considered here?